Alinghi to face bigger, faster challenge

The new bigger, faster America's Cup yachts are expected to be more difficult to sail than the current class Keystone

Alinghi, the victorious Swiss defender of the America's Cup, will face bigger, faster yachts in the next edition – though the date and site have yet to be decided.

This content was published on July 5, 2007 - 16:10

The Swiss champions also announced on Thursday that the entire team would travel to Geneva on Sunday to celebrate retaining yachting's biggest prize. The "Homecoming Tour" will then continue to Zurich, Bern and Lugano.

America's Cup organisers ACM said that the new yachts would be 27.4 metres long, considerably longer than the 24-metre boats that were used during the 32nd edition.

The Swiss team, which successfully defended its title Tuesday, has the right to decide the rules of the next race, its location and timing.

"Everybody seems to want a new boat, bigger, more exciting and difficult to sail," Alinghi's skipper Brad Butterworth told Yachting World. "The rule will encourage designers to come up with innovative new ideas. The America's Cup is a design contest and a technology race. That's the way the Cup's always been and we're going to keep it that way."

The exact design rule of the new yacht will be decided by the end of 2007, according to ACM Chief Executive Michel Bonnefous.

Bonnefous added that the next America's Cup would either be held in the Spanish city of Valencia in 2009 or if agreement cannot be reached, at another European venue by 2011 at the latest.

"Today, we have a natural relationship with Valencia and Spain and we are discussing renewing our terms with Valencia but we didn't reach an agreement so far," Bonnefous said.

"If we do, we'll announce it quickly."

All the major decisions about timing, venue and class would be made by December 31, he said.

Coming home

To celebrate its 5-2 victory over Team New Zealand, Alinghi will travel to Switzerland for a "Homecoming Tour".

"We are doing the Homecoming Tour because we want to share this moment of victory with Switzerland as a thank you for the immense support the people have shown us during the campaign," said Alinghi's billionaire owner, Ernesto Bertarelli.

The entire team (130 team members and their families) plans to arrive in Geneva on Sunday with the Auld Mug – the coveted trophy.

Alinghi team members will then head to Eaux Vives park to celebrate at a public festival from 5pm that will include music, live television interviews on big screens and a full team presentation.

From Geneva, the Alinghi team will continue their Swiss tour to Zurich (July 10), the capital, Bern (July 12), and Italian-speaking Lugano (July 14).

swissinfo, with agencies

Key facts

Team Alinghi 2007:
President: Ernesto Bertarelli
Skipper: Brad Butterworth
Helmsman: Ed Baird
Boat: SUI-100
Registered: Geneva Nautical Society

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America's Cup

The inaugural race was held off the Isle of Wight in 1851. America dominated the race until 1983 when Australia won the trophy.

In 1995 New Zealand became only the third country to win the competition, successfully defending their title in 2000.

Alinghi sailed to victory against Team New Zealand in 2003 and became the first European team to win the Auld Mug.

The Swiss syndicate defended its title in a best-of-nine series off the coast of the Spanish city of Valencia in June/July 2007, beating Team New Zealand 5-2.

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